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Storm and Skye Litter – Week Six

“The Teasing Game”The gang is growing steadily and is now getting three meals a day, supplemented by Skye’s still frequent offerings of dessert. Their muzzles are lengthening and are beginning to look a bit more like the adults they will eventually become. Their emotions are becoming apparent too, so they whine to show fear, whimper if they’re hurt and bark when they are excited, want attention or are ready for dinner. And they seem to be ready for dinner a lot! We are spending time alone with each puppy, playing gently and teaching them to relate one-on-one in a safe, trusting situation. The best part is that we get to repeat the exercise each and every day and this group is particularly affectionate.

From day one, these little guys were totally comfortable with their outdoor surroundings and they’ve since had many opportunities to enjoy the yard. Their first priority is to see if mom is willing to oblige them with a snack. Once that been determined and fulfilled, they immediately rus…
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Storm and Pepper Litter – Week Two

“The Little Temple”Pepper’s little ones are doing very well – almost too well in fact.  Since there are only five in the litter and their mom is in overdrive and loaded with milk, they’re growing and developing in leaps and bounds. They now resemble mini Buddhas with their plump little bellies, so we’ve had to try to limit Pepper’s nursing time before they explode.

It’s exciting for us when the puppies’ eyes open at around the 10-day mark. Many of the puppies’ critical organs including their brain are not fully formed and they will spend several weeks developing rapidly. Since the gestation period in dogs is short (63 days), the tradeoff is that puppies are quite helpless at birth. Biologists refer to species that produce immature dependent offspring as altricial, which means “to nurse, to rear or to nourish”. It refers to the need for the young of these species to be fed and taken care of for a long period of time. Puppies are born with their eyelids tightly shut because the eye itse…

Storm and Skye Litter – Week Five

“Busting Loose”This was a big week for Skye’s young family. We removed the pig rails in the whelping box that help keep the little ones safe from being accidently squished. As we were doing that, several of the pups came over to investigate resulting in a great deal of hand nibbling and cuddling. We also added an extension which has doubled the size of the whelping box from 4x4 feet to 4x8 feet. How luxurious! In one corner, there’s now an area with paper shredding which the little ones are learning to use as a litter box of sorts. This is the first step toward potty training before they can access the yard.

The dynamic in the whelping box is evolving. This is the beginning of the most influential socialization period for the puppies. They’re learning to communicate with each other and with us by wagging their tails. With the increased control over their facial muscles, they are making expressions and are beginning to reveal their personalities and communicate their opinions. The pups …

Storm and Pepper Litter – Week One

“Joy and Pain”We never really know what to expect when our moms-to be are in the latter stages of their labour. Typically, puppies are born in the wee hours, but every now and again we catch a bit of a break so when Pepper gave us the paws up signal at 5:00 a.m., we happily sprang into action. We welcomed Mr. Blueberry Cobbler at 5:14. It was a bit of a bumpy ride, but he managed. He was followed by Mr. Orange Creamsicle at 6:01, who despite our best efforts returned to Heaven as an angel. Little Mr. Lemon Meringue made his debut at 6:58 and was quickly joined by his sister, Miss Strawberry Shortcake at 7:15 who apparently was in a hurry. The remaining two boys were much more casual with their timing as we were joined by Mr. Crème Brûlée at 8:02 and Mr. Rice Pudding at 9:05.

While she did not share this with us, it was apparent that poor Pepper experienced a certain amount of discomfort from delivering her pups. This left her in a somewhat fragile state, so she didn’t immediately begin…

Storm and Skye Litter – Week Four

“Sound the Alarm!”It was early in the morning. Off in the distance, a couple of mourning doves were singing their melancholy song while the finches were chirping cheerily. A gentle breeze made a slight rustling sound as it caressed the leaves of the large locust trees in the yard. While it’s not unusual to hear a dog bark in this household, there was a perceptible urgency in its tone. It increased in volume, so we went to investigate. Ever the good mom, Skye was alerting us to the fact that Miss Sprinkles (Pink) had escaped the whelping box and was headed toward the step up to the kitchen from the sunken living room. Mind you, for a puppy that size, it would be like trying to scale the side of a three-story building. The crisis was quickly averted with Miss Sprinkles being gently airlifted back into the whelping box.

Skye is exceptionally good-natured. She doesn’t mind sharing her space in the living room with Faith who was recovering from spay surgery and in need of a little quiet tim…

Storm & Skye Litter – Week Three

“On the Road Again”
Now that her mastitis is under control, Skye and her new family were relocated to the living room from our bedroom this week which is a pretty regal deal for mom. She’s got both a sofa and a love seat to stretch out on, not to mention some carpeting and some sections of cool wood flooring for lounging. There’s also a walkout to the backyard for private bathroom breaks or birdwatching. Skye didn’t bat an eye about being transplanted - she knew this was a good deal.

With their vision established beyond simply being able to detect light, dark and movement, the puppies are becoming increasingly curious about their surroundings and each other. They are beginning to get acquainted with their littermates and can often be seen standing in a group gently colliding or rubbing their noses and heads against one another whether awake or asleep. This is the beginning of a key period for the puppies as they are developing rudimentary social skills. They are testing each other’s li…

Pepper, Day 56 days (pre-parturition)

Our cuddly Pepper hasn’t skipped a beat. She continues to happily hang out with the pack and enjoys cooling off indoors in the air conditioning. She has however excavated a lovely den in the backyard for her pups. Since she’s due next week, we will introduce Pepper to a lovely clean warm environment known as “the whelping box” for her to house her puppies in. 

Pepper is loving her three meals a day. Usually a very slow eater, she now devours her meals which consists of a nutritious and “unprocessed” raw meal of veggies, meat/bone, raw eggs, beef liver, pre and probiotics and vitamins.  Today she is enjoying a spa day with lots of pampering in preparation for the big event. 

At this stage, the puppies have a full coat of hair and can be felt moving around in her tummy which measures 33 inches or 88.8 cm. The coat is one of the last organs to develop along with the intestinal tract. The majority of a puppy’s growth in size takes place the last couple weeks of gestation.

Pepper is shedding …